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Archive for September, 2009

NOW IS ALL WE HAVE

My heading really says it all. Living in the NOW doesn’t mean I can or want to do away with memory…or even anticipation…but it does mean, to me, not carrying over old emotional baggage that destroys this now.

It, of course, means being conscious of what that baggage is. Anticipating the negative is a carry-over and makes this now bleak and fearful.

We’re all human. So what else is new? (Ooops, that remark lost me a longtime friend). Our own self-interest is primary…even when we are extremely altruistic and seemingly selfless. So that the love I give and love I receive are both life-preservers.

The recent death of my much-loved daughter has challenged me in many ways to practice what I preach. I do grieve for the shut down of her accomplished and much appreciated life. She deserved many more than her 63 years. My emotions fluctuate from feeling unnerved to feeling sad to feeling calm. Those are my NOW…but I know (anticipate) that these emotions will level off, despite the continuing sadness…and that helps my moment.

In relation to that, there are lines which have stayed with me for many, many years and speak to this very subject:

“Life gives us moments, and for
these moments we give our lives.”

The most imprtant, and often difficult trick, is to experience fully those moments we are given…without contamination. Yes, the contamination can be the moment itself, because it’s a lived experience, but it destroys the gift. I refuse to give over to that destruction…for myself, and for those who love and care for me…or even for the world at large

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NOW IS ALL WE HAVE

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COMPLEX GRIEF

Last Saturday my much-loved daughter, Christie Romero, died after 21 months of struggling and in a sense, conquering the limitations of the dread disease that has yet to be cured: pancreatic cancer. She was sixty-three.
But her spirit and enthusiasm for her world belied the years. I mourn. I grieve. As in the Hopkins poem…”It is Margaret (i.e., Christie) you mourn for.” His meaning is that the loss of life is mourned by the person who dies.
Those of us who are left are grieving for ourselves, what feels like a deprivation. No, the tragedy and mournfulness is in the ending of a life that still had so much life within it to be lived.

Christie has rightfully been extolled for many things: her valiant fight not to give in to the pain and demands of her illness… She accomplished more in the period after her diagnosis than most people do in a lifetime. She is being given tribute from people all over the world not only for her scholarly, uncompromising work as a jewelry historian (totally auto didactic), but for the generous, spirited way she helped and inspired her students, colleagues and friends. She is a powerful loss to that world.

The umbilical cord that tied me to my daughter is primordial and her death was, at first, something I thought I couldn’t bear. But she belonged to her own world, which is only right and I rejoice in how much she filled it and was rewarded by it. Realizing this, makes the release possible…especially knowing that her suffering has ended.
Am I somehow less of a mother than a woman who wails and tears her hair at the loss of her adult child?
I hope…and even think…not.

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